The human body is a set of inextricably interconnected systems and processes. When one suffers and struggles to fulfill its specialized function, a ripple effect often damages other areas of the body as well.
This is particularly true when it comes to the spine, which contains the central nervous system, the entire body’s communication hub. Its well-being is essential for the body’s overall health!
Unfortunately, according to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, as much as 80% of people will struggle with low back pain during their lives. Because of the spine’s importance and people’s predisposition to back pain, it is essential to take good care of your spine by following some simple yet powerful spine health guidelines!
Spinal Structure and Potential Complications
The spine comprises twenty-four vertebrae (i.e., small bones) separated by discs, with the spinal cord running up the middle. Over time, as a person’s body undergoes injuries and the physical demands of everyday life — such as moving furniture or sitting for long periods — increase, the spine can undergo a myriad of injuries, such as:
- Slipped discs
- Osteoarthritis (i.e., worn-down cartilage)
- Kyphosis (i.e., where the spine bends forward)
Below are six simple tips to keep your spine healthy for a long, healthy, and comfortable life!
How to Have a Healthy Spine
Make a Habit Out of Good Posture
Many people spend numerous sedentary hours in an office chair, prompting an increase in spinal disc pressure — up to 40%. Over time, particularly when poor posture becomes a habit, the extra stress on the discs can cause them to herniate (i.e., when the soft inside of a disc sticks out from its tough outer casing).
To give your spinal discs the best chance at longevity, make a habit out of good sitting posture by taking the time to prioritize office ergonomics. You may also want to invest in a stand-up desk or exercise ball, a much healthier work setup for your spine health.
Frequent Breaks Promote a Healthy Spine
Taking frequent breaks to stand up or go on a short walk is another way to support better spine health when seated for long periods of time. Walking is particularly beneficial, as it not only prevents the spine’s health from degrading but actively supports it by strengthening the core, thus increasing flexibility and improving bone structure.
Stretching is another worthwhile activity to incorporate into work breaks. Maintaining a healthy spine and increasing spinal flexibility ensures that joints function properly and have a full range of motion. It is also preventative, helping decrease the risk of a back injury.
Regular Exercise is a Must
While it is important to take breaks that involve standing, stretching, and walking, that is not sufficient. Regular exercise is essential for spinal health. Even a simple routine can help ensure the spinal structure receives essential nutrients, reducing inflammation to expedite healing, and strengthening muscles, ligaments, and joints, so they are less prone to injury.
Regular physical activity can take many forms. Some people prefer low-impact types of exercise, such as biking or swimming. Pool-based activities are beneficial, as the water’s buoyancy and reduced friction decrease joint stress and support the spine. Some places even offer water therapy programs to soothe muscles and promote spinal health with simple exercises in warm water.
Weight lifting is an equally viable form of exercise, so long as the proper form is maintained to avoid muscle strains or ruptured spinal discs. When performing an exercise such as a deadlift, remember to keep your back straight, bending your knees to reach the weight and lift it. Many use the language of leading with your hips to emphasize that proper lifting form incorporates more than just one’s legs, knees, and arms.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Everyday exercise also supports another tip for a happy spine: maintaining a healthy weight. Weight above the healthy amount for one’s age and stature places undue stress on the spinal column, often causing lower back pain.
A well-balanced, healthy diet will help you sustain a healthy weight and supply your bones and joints with essential nutrients and vitamins. Avoiding processed foods while choosing meals that are high in calcium and antioxidants can help prevent problems such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Be Mindful of Your Sleeping Position
Besides working, the average adult spends a substantial number of hours a day sleeping. During this time, the spine must be given time to rest, heal, and decompress.
There are two primary ways to ensure that your spine gets the rejuvenation it needs while you sleep:
- Procuring the right mattress
- Using a pillow to properly align the spine
As mattresses age, they become soft and flimsy, failing to provide proper support, which is why a mildly firm or firm mattress is a much better alternative.
Depending on your sleeping position, the right head pillow will support your neck and place the spine in the proper position. Additional pillow support can help maintain the spine’s natural curvature — a pillow between the legs for side sleepers and one under the knees for those who sleep on their backs.
Turn to Massage Therapy for Pain Relief
Another beneficial habit that can be applied less often, but is still worth pursuing, is massage therapy. Massages performed by expert therapists help increase blood circulation, relax sore muscles, and boost endorphin levels. Also, they expedite healing and decrease pain.
In a 2001 study conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, researchers found that massages improved the range of motion while lessening lower back pain, depression, and anxiety.
There are many types of massage therapy, and their usefulness depends on the patient, situation, and pain that needs to be relieved. However, the following options are a few of the most commonly pursued massage therapy types for those seeking to mitigate back pain:
- Swedish Massage: Helps alleviate minor back pain and muscle tension.
- Deep-Tissue Massage: Good for people suffering from muscle soreness, injuries, and chronic muscle pain.
- Trigger Point Massage: Generally focuses on particular areas of the body suffering from tight muscles.
- Shiatsu Massage: For those struggling with back and neck pain, arthritis, sprains, sciatica, and chronic stress.
Improve Your Spine Health at Bergen Chiropractic!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 298-7179 or (201) 357-6539 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601 are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- Zinovy Meyler, DO. “11 Ways to Indulge Your Spine.” Spine, www.spine-health.com/blog/11-ways-indulge-your-spine. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.
- “Common Spine Problems Explained with Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-spine-problems. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.
- “Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need to Know.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nccih.nih.gov/health/low-back-pain-and-complementary-health-approaches-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.
People often assume pain to be proportionate; if a small body area is hurt, the resulting pain is minor. Significant pain, on the other hand, must stem from a significant injury.
That is not always the case. Occasionally, seemingly minuscule changes within the body can cause disproportionate amounts of pain, further health problems, and an inability to engage in daily life. One particularly illustrative example of this is pinched nerves.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
The nervous system is the body’s communication highway, essential for sending signals to perform everyday functions and respond appropriately to the environment. The spinal cord, which runs up the back and is protected by the spine, serves as communication central; it sends out directions from the brain and receives incoming signals.
However, when one of these nerves is pinched — which occurs most often around the spinal cord — it becomes unable to perform its job, potentially leading to a myriad of complications.
A nerve can end up pinched in a number of different ways. They most commonly cause problems when the nerve’s root is compressed, leading to discomfort and pain both near the nerve and radiating outward.
Why Do Pinched Nerves Occur?
Generally, nerves are compressed by some sort of tissue — a bone, cartilage, muscle, or tendon — becoming displaced and placing an unnatural amount of pressure on the nerve. Although this compression occurs at varying levels of severity and stems from various causes, the most common catalysts for pinched nerves can be divided into four categories:
Subluxation of a Spinal Bone
Subluxations occur when one of the spine’s vertebrae is forced out of place. The vertebrae’s misalignment causes it to press on nearby areas that are unused to being compressed, such as nerves.
Spinal vertebrae are each separated by discs — round pieces of cartilage that prevent the bones from grinding against one another. However, age and stressors can cause these discs to deteriorate, and the nerves that run between those vertebrae are crushed in the process.
Spinal discs can suffer other maladies besides degeneration. A disc herniation occurs when its soft center protrudes through a tear in the disc’s tough exterior. The disc’s center — its nucleus — then pushes against its surroundings, which often include nerves.
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition characterized by the degeneration of joints. One of its symptoms is the formation of bone spurs — bony projections that develop around joints. Much like disc degeneration or herniation, these bone spurs can pinch nerves by closing up the space through which they run.
These four conditions are the direct cause of pinched nerves. However, they almost always occur as a result of some indirect cause. They may develop in:
- Overweight patients
- Patients involved in dangerous sports or vehicular accidents
- Patients who have sat for years at a desk with poor posture
- Patients who have rheumatoid arthritis
Body Areas Commonly Affected by Pinched Nerves
Pinched nerves can occur in any joint throughout the body but often along the spine. Physicians use special terms to denote different sections of the spine:
- Cervical spine for the neck area
- Thoracic spine for the upper and middle back
- Lumbar spine for the lower back
However, because nerves radiate out from their source, the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the spine may affect completely separate parts of the body. A pinched shoulder nerve, for example, may cause pain or numbness in the shoulder, arm, and hand. Likewise, a pinched nerve in the lumbar region can result in weakness and pain all the way down to one’s foot.
Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
The symptoms of a pinched nerve vary widely depending on the cause and location of the pinch. The most common symptoms include:
- Spinal pain
- Pain in an arm or leg
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Burning sensation
- Muscle weakness
What Can a Chiropractor Do for a Pinched Nerve?
Chiropractic care can help alleviate the severe symptoms of pinched nerves, reduce inflammation, provide relief to the affected area, and expedite the healing process. Adjustments performed by a licensed chiropractor can help to properly realign the body and relieve pressure off the affected nerve. For example, using decompression therapy, chiropractors can perform a spinal manipulation to relieve stress on a nerve, massage therapy can help calm muscle spasms, and cryotherapy provides relief through numbing nerve pain.
Stretches for Pinched Nerve Pain Relief
In addition to lifestyle changes that can help prevent pinched nerves and improve symptoms of existing pinched nerves (such as better desk ergonomics), chiropractors often recommend stretches that many patients can complete at home.
For chronic pain in the lumbar region, chiropractors recommend varieties of the pigeon pose (reclining, sitting, and forward), which decompresses the spine and creates more breathing space for the affected nerves. Also, try the “chin tuck while looking down” exercise for neck pain to decompress the cervical spine region.
Looking to Treat a Pinched Nerve? Look No Further Than Bergen Chiropractic!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 298-7179 or (201) 357-6539 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic care treatments!
- “Bone Spurs.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Sept. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bone-spurs/symptoms-causes/syc-20370212. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.
- Basix. “Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve? – AlignologyTM & Associates.” ALIGNOLOGY, 30 Dec. 2021, alignology.com/can-a-chiropractor-help-a-pinched-nerve/. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.
- “Herniated Disk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Feb. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/herniated-disk/symptoms-causes/syc-20354095. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.
We rarely take a moment to stop and appreciate the value of a moment of silence. In fact, you’ve probably not thought of the value of silence until a moment when you desperately needed it and couldn’t find it. But sometimes, our silence is not interrupted by noisy neighbors for loud music but by a ringing that seems to be coming from nowhere. This persistent ringing from no apparent source is likely a condition called tinnitus. Today’s article will deal with the different types of tinnitus, their causes and symptoms, and how chiropractic treatment can deal with tinnitus in a noninvasive way!
What is Tinnitus?
Unlike the ringing sensation that usually accompanies a head injury, tinnitus is a persistent ringing sound, meaning that it lasts for an extended period of time and doesn’t quickly dissipate on its own. Tinnitus can also be more than ringing — other sounds like buzzing, whooshing, clicking, or hissing can be examples of tinnitus. This condition can differ from one patient to another, although medical professionals classify tinnitus into four major categories.
The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus
Although tinnitus is something only the patient can hear, there are four defined types of tinnitus: subjective, objective, neurological, and somatic.
Subjective tinnitus is the most common form of tinnitus, probably what you think of when you hear the word. It is characterized by a sound that can only be heard by the patient (hence the name “subjective”). Subjective tinnitus is often triggered by a loud noise and may last for several months or may not dissipate at all.
Objective tinnitus is caused by muscle contractions or vascular deformities. In this case, the loud noises the person hears can also be heard by another person. Luckily, objective tinnitus can be permanently fixed by treating underlying muscle contractions or deformities.
Neurological tinnitus is caused by an underlying disorder affecting the brain. For instance, neurological tinnitus can be caused by a condition called ménière (or Meniere’s) disease, which affects the auditory part of your brain, creating an annoying but imagined sound.
Lastly, somatic tinnitus is a form of tinnitus caused by a damaged sensory system (e.g., an ear, neck, or head injury).
What are the Tinnitus Symptoms?
The primary symptom of tinnitus is a persistent ringing occurring in one ear or both ears. However, tinnitus does not have to be constant. The sound you hear from a bout of tinnitus can grow stronger or fade out. This means that the sound can come and go but still be a sign of tinnitus so long as it lasts for a prolonged period and is debilitating.
What are the Underlying Causes of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be caused by a wide variety of underlying causes, such as:
Other factors such as earwax blockage, inner ear damage, and head or neck trauma or injuries can also cause tinnitus. But, most importantly, an injury or misalignment of the upper cervical spine often hides behind a patient’s tinnitus, something that our chiropractic team at the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center can fix!
Do Chiropractors Help With Tinnitus?
Chiropractors and chiropractic management are one of the most direct ways to treat tinnitus. Traditionally, tinnitus has been treated by changing one’s lifestyle (e.g., diet), behavioral therapy, hearing aids, and electromagnetic stimulation. On the other hand, chiropractic care treats tinnitus at its source: the upper cervical spine. Only through chiropractic care for tinnitus can the cervical spine be effectively adjusted and realigned, something that several case studies have already proven!
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatment for Tinnitus
Chiropractors treat tinnitus through a series of small adjustments to the upper cervical spine near the base of your skull. These adjustments realign the bones around your neck and ears to help restore their normal function and reduce the pressure placed on your brain stem and ears, treating the pressure contributing to tinnitus.
Other Tinnitus Treatment Modalities
Other than chiropractic care, there are other helpful methods of treating tinnitus. Commonly, tinnitus can also be improved by earwax removal, noise suppression, and by blood vessel treatment. These methods all aim to reduce the contributing factors that can worsen tinnitus.
Other than these methods, patients can use some forms of medication to treat tinnitus. However, these medications don’t actually treat tinnitus but only alleviate its symptoms.
Treating Patients for Tinnitus Symptoms at Bergen Chiropractic!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 298-7179 or (201) 357-6539 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- “Stop the Ringing! Tinnitus and Chiropractic Care.” Chiropractor, www.thejoint.com/california/long-beach/long-beach-31029/stop-the-ringing-tinnitus-and-chiropractic-care. Accessed 8 Nov. 2022.
- “The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus.” Audiology & Hearing Health, 22 Aug. 2019, www.audiologyandhearing.com/blog/the-4-different-types-of-tinnitus/#. Accessed 8 Nov. 2022.
- “Tinnitus: The Small Problem Giving You a Major Headache.” Chiropractic BioPhysics, idealspine.com/tinnitus-the-small-problem-giving-you-a-major-headache/. Accessed 8 Nov. 2022.
Talk to someone who is under a lot of stress or pressure, and they might say: “There’s so much going on, I just feel like my head is spinning!” Usually, they don’t mean this phrase literally. However, there are unique situations in which stress can cause someone to feel that their surroundings are whirling and tilting: a medical condition called vertigo. Luckily, this condition, which affects nearly 40% of Americans at least once in their lifetime, can be treated through a non-invasive method: chiropractic care!
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a condition that usually results in feelings of dizziness and a spinning sensation, even when completely motionless. This condition can significantly hamper everyday activities, particularly for patients suffering from acute vertigo, disrupting walking, vision, and hearing and causing nausea.
Even worse, vertigo symptoms can manifest suddenly and without warning. Some suffer from constant side effects, whereas others are struck by seemingly random ‘spells’ abruptly overcome by nausea and dizziness.
What is the Root Cause of Vertigo?
Several events and conditions can cause vertigo. One, as mentioned earlier, is being overwhelmed by stress. However, emotionally induced vertigo is not the most common kind.
Generally, the root cause of vertigo is a disturbance in the inner ear organs responsible for a person’s sense of balance. The inner ear can be thrown off by a multitude of factors, ranging from calcium buildups in the ear canal to poorly functioning joints in the cervical spine, which generally involve the ear, head, or neck.
It is always most prudent to see a physician who can help detect a more serious underlying vertigo cause, such as a tumor in or near the head.
What are the Different Types of Vertigo?
Physicians often differentiate between two main types of vertigo: peripheral and central. Although they may present similar symptoms, they stem from root problems in different body areas — peripheral vertigo is a fallout of issues in the inner ear, whereas central vertigo is caused by complications with the central nervous system (CNS).
The three most common types of peripheral vertigo are:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): It occurs when calcium crystals are in the wrong location.
- Labyrinthitis: It stems from viral infection-caused inflammation.
- Meniere’s Disease: It leads to auditory issues such as tinnitus or hearing loss.
The central nervous system, composed of the brain and spinal cord, serves as the command center for bodily communications. Health concerns such as migraines, strokes, tumors, and multiple sclerosis (MS) can result in central vertigo as a symptom. Except for migraines, these conditions are very serious, and medical attention should be sought immediately.
What are the Main Symptoms of Vertigo?
Just as with its causes, a wide range of possible symptoms can result from vertigo. The most common is a sensation of spinning and an inability to balance. However, there is a whole host of other symptoms, including:
- Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
- Loss of hearing
Can Chiropractic Care Help With Vertigo?
Fortunately, most vertigo cases are sensitive to chiropractic care, as they are linked to head, neck, or spine injuries. The exception would be stress-induced vertigo, which occurs because of an adrenaline rush generated by the ‘fight-or-flight response.’ When resulting from a head, neck, or spine issue, however, chiropractors are well-equipped to help many who suffer from it!
One type of vertigo, called cervical vertigo, generally follows a neck injury in which joints in the cervical spine (i.e., the neck area) endure trauma and begin moving improperly. As a result, the brain receives disordered signals about the body’s posture and movement.
Manipulations and adjustments by a knowledgeable chiropractor can help realign damaged nervous system pathways and restore appropriate channels for signaling the brain.
Spinal subluxations (i.e., a misaligned vertebra) can also prevent the proper flow of spinal fluid, causing a buildup in the ear canal. Such a condition can result in vertigo symptoms such as pressure, dizziness, headaches, and disorientation.
Chiropractic adjustments can help patients with vertigo return to engage with ease in the activities of everyday life with restored hearing, improved balance, and greater confidence!
The Epley Maneuver
Another common type of vertigo chiropractic treatment can relieve Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). As mentioned earlier, BPPV stems from a buildup of calcium particles in the inner ear. The calcium crystals may shift from the otolith organs (i.e., two sacs in the inner ear that help maintain the body’s sense of balance) to other areas of the inner ear, shifting the perceived center of balance and causing dizziness.
Chiropractors can treat BPPV with the Epley Maneuver, which places the patient’s head in different positions to redistribute the calcium crystals. This non-invasive treatment is simple, fast, and allows the body to naturally support its own healing processes.
Learn to Manage Your Vertigo Symptoms at Bergen Chiropractic!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601 are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- “3 Ways a Chiropractor Helps Vertigo.” Vitality Precision Chiropractic, 30 Apr. 2018, vitalitypc.com/3-ways-a-chiropractor-helps-vertigo/. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.
- “Can Chiropractic Help with Vertigo?” Oakland Lifestyle Medicine, Dean Chiropractic, 12 Nov. 2020, deanchiropractic.com/can-chiropractic-help-with-vertigo/. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.
- “Feeling Dizzy? Chiropractic May Help Your Vertigo!” Chiropractic BioPhysics, 6 Sept. 2023, idealspine.com/feeling-dizzy-chiropractic-may-help-your-vertigo/. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.